Of a gamer and a non-gamer, who do you think would make the better trainee surgeon? A report published in science journal PLOS One suggests it may be the former - revealing that an hour of playing on the Nintendo Wii improves postgraduate surgeons' ability to perform the skills necessary for keyhole surgery.
Researchers compared the performance of a group of surgeons who played one hour a day of videogames with a control group who had not been playing.
The gamers - who were offered the choice of Wii Tennis, Wii Table Tennis and High Altitude Battle - scored significantly higher in simulated tasks designed to hone surgeons' skills. The games were chosen for the demands made of "eye-hand coordination, movement precision, depth perception and 3D visualisation”.
The study authors noted that academic institutions might be unwilling to make videogames part of their curriculum but advised younger surgeons to boost their development through console entertainment.
Videogames are already in use as part of the training for soldiers in the US armed forces. Games and simulators supposedly sharpen recruits' reaction times and teach vital combat skills.